As work and life continue to blend and unemployment remains low, the competition for employee talent is intense. Small businesses are seeking solutions to help their companies stand out as they tackle the challenge of attracting, engaging, and retaining employees.
Strategic benefits can play a pivotal role.
Looking ahead, small businesses are feeling optimistic about their opportunity to grow and succeed. One in four small business owners plans to hire additional employees within the next year.* But the competition for the best and the brightest is challenging. More than 40 percent say it's hard to find good candidates.**
Benefits as a differentiator
Along with the appeal of a close-knit, family-like culture, small businesses can stand out from other employers by offering a range of benefit options. Flexibility and voluntary benefit choices are highly valued by employees and are increasingly possible for smaller companies to offer.
Small business employees show an increasing appreciation for benefits available through their employers. Forty-six percent say better benefits can help them successfully navigate and thrive in today's workplace, up 13 percentage points over 2018.
However, based on employee perceptions, small business employers may not be fully optimizing benefits as a strategic tool. Benefits are an important reason for joining a company, according to 46 percent of small business employees. And, employee benefits also help drive increased employee loyalty. Sixty-four percent of small business employees say having benefits customized to meet their needs would increase loyalty to their employer. In fact, eight out of ten small business employees say the ability to customize their benefits is a must-have or nice-to-have option.
To capitalize on the strategic power of benefits, small businesses must first address the gap in current perceptions. While 67 percent of small business employers believe employees are satisfied with their current benefits offering, only 52 percent of small business employees express satisfaction. However, the employee satisfaction rate is trending up, jumping significantly from 42 percent in 2018.
The appeal of voluntary benefits
For employers, offering voluntary benefit choices that enable employees to select coverages to best fit their individual needs can provide the options employees want, without breaking the bank. Fifty-two percent of small business employees are interested in a wider array of non-medical benefits they can choose from and pay for on their own. This employee receptivity opens the door for employers to evaluate their current benefit programs and implement strategic enhancements that can benefit their employees' lives as well as the company’s bottom line.
Explore and share the complete insights from MetLife's new small business focused employee benefit trends report, The Evolving Work-Life World: How Small Businesses Can Compete and Thrive.
For questions, please contact a member of your B&P Sales Team - 888.722.3373.
Unless noted otherwise, all findings are from the 17th annual MetLife U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study research, 2019.
* MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index, Q2 2019.
** MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index, Q4 2018.